Sermon on the Mount (cont.)

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

A famous part of Christ’s teaching. I have heard and given many messages on these verses. My old youth pastor used to say something like spend about 10 years teaching before you try and teach the parables of Christ – probably wise. I am not even going to get into it. What is fresh to me this time are those last few words: verse 16. It would seems that being the “salt of the earth”, and the “light of the world” is tied closely with our “good deeds”.

Now I am not talking about the faith vs. works argument, that’s so last decade. What strikes me is that quote, “people don’t care what you have to say until they know that you care” (or something like that). The point is that so many times Christians want to tell others how to better their lives, or change, or break a habit, or whatever – but they miss the crucial point of letting “your good deeds shine”. A lot of times relationship is the key to evangelism – getting to know people, showing them you care, spending time with them, allowing God’s Spirit to work in their lives (and yours as well). Then when you’ve built some level of trust, God brings opportunities for you to speak into their lives. I am not saying this is how evangelism must work, I am just saying that this is an effective way that it does work – especially in my life with my personality.

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worship2So I have been thinking about this over the past couple weeks (and forgive me, but this is mainly for worship leaders, musicians, ministry leaders, etc.), but what are your expectations for a worship service? I think this may be one of the most profound questions we can ask each other, because your answer will reflect what you value in what expectations you put on your teams and your church.

Many worship leaders talk about how they just want to see people “get it”, or “really worship”; some say they want to “see God move”, or “have people cry out”, “be delivered”; some wish that “people would just sing”, or “lift their hands”, and on and on it goes. When you have a great weekend at church – what does that mean? Was the church “getting it”? Was “God moving”? What does success look like?

Here is a little check list that I came up with (so of course it is right) to help get things in order before you define a successful worship service:

  • What is the Vision of your church?
    Begin by taking into consideration that each church’s vision for what the purpose of a weekend service varies. Find out what it is – this should come from your lead pastor, or the core values of the church. Write it down, memorize it, stew on it, pray about it, and let it become a part of you. If you don’t do this, you will never be successful because in your heart you will be struggling against the very core of what God is doing in the church.
  • What is the Vision of your personal ministry?
    What has God placed in your heart? Where do you thrive? What keeps you awake at night and drives you all week long? And here is the clincher: does this line up with the core vision of your church (or potential church!). If they don’t line up, or come very, very close then you have three choices:

    1. Ask God to change your heart (and He will, trust me)
    2. Find a new place to serve/work
    3. Waste years of your life in constant conflict trying to convince God that you are right

    That’s it, as far as I am concerned right now – those are your choices…

  • What are your gifts?
    What areas has God gifted you in? What are you capable of? Are you great at that soft heart warming worship or are you an arranger that puts together parts and harmonies and choirs, or do you just rock? Are you a songwriter, a people person, introverted, easily offended, creative, a leader, a leader of leaders, a multiplier (discipler), immature, confident, etc. Find out what areas God has gifted you – designed you for and take advantage of them. This is not to say that you can’t achieve and strive to be more gifted in areas, or maybe God will chose to use someone with less talent to do a great thing. But for the most part, people excel when they operate in their giftedness.And here is a free tip: ask others about your areas of giftedness & talent – tell them to be brutally honest. We are way to into ourselves to be honest…

Mix those three components together:
Church Vision + My Vision + My Gifting = (determines) Ministry Style

Now check this out:

  • Ministry Style A + Great Execution = Success A
  • Ministry Style B + Great Execution = Success B
  • Ministry Style C + Great Execution = Success C

Does this make sense? Our Vision (what God has placed in our heart) + Our Gifts (what God has placed in our minds) determines our style of Ministry, which meets certain needs in our communities; not every need – thus the need for many styles to fulfill many needs. And of course at the end of the day the same basic need is met: connecting people with a loving and just God. That is success – how we get there is the big question and what we deal with week in and week out. I’ll share my restaurant theory of church sometime soon…

So again, what does success look like to you in your ministry?

Next: I answer my own question…

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(Dr. Charles R. Phelps)

Many pastors struggle with stress and the lack of ministerial fulfillment. I would like to suggest that making one decision can provide the cure for both of these diseases. You must decide to delegate.

D.L. Moody said, “It’s better to get ten men to do the work than to do the work of ten men!” Moody’s sage advice is filled with scriptural wisdom. Myron Rush makes this point: “A person may be in a leadership position, but if he isn’t willing to delegate, he isn’t a leader at all ??? he is a hired hand”*

The Bible is filled with detailed descriptions of delegation. Solomon mastered the fine art of managing through men, and the kingdom was enlarged. The fourth chapter of I Kings introduces us to those responsible for Solomon’s armies, meals, and taxes. Our Savior was certainly willing to delegate. The first eighteen verses of Luke 10 record the sending out of seventy itinerant preachers. After the Lord gave them detailed instructions, He sent them to preach. Though these messengers were inexperienced and far less capable than the Master, their ministry was blessed by God. Eventually these messengers would “turn the world upside down” (Acts 17:6)

Solomon and the Savior both knew something that we in ministry often forget. They knew that disciples are made through delegation. They knew that delegation is godly and that the failure to delegate is ungodly. They knew that when God created Adam He placed Him in Eden “to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). God brought “every beast of the field” and “the fowl of the air” before Adam “to see what he would call them” (Genesis 2:19, 20). The Psalmist explicitly reveals God’s intent to delegate in Psalm 8:4–6, saying: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.”

Many in ministry need to hear the wise counsel of Jethro, who told his very capable son-in-law Moses to “divide and conquer” or else be conquered by frustration (Exodus 18:18–23). Moses listened to his father-in-law and followed his advice. Soon seventy men were recruited, trained, and commissioned. Moses discovered that “it is better to get seventy men to do the job than to do the job of seventy men.”

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